Reflections on Beginning Lent 2017

Here we are already, it’s Lenten season. It feels like 2017 is already flying by, and it’s brought so much chaos, fear, and some sadness to so many people. I’m lucky enough to work for City Church San Francisco where we attend church and have built a community, and I’ve been so thankful for the thoughtful conversations and the outpouring of love our church has shown to communities and religions different than our own.

I love living in a sanctuary city. It’s something I hadn’t ever thought of before, but with the current political climate we’re all in, living in a sanctuary city and doing life along side people who have all agreed to love and accept our immigrant neighbors – it feels like we’re loving people the way we’re supposed to. There’s action behind the words.

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Recently we read this quote from Aaron Neiquest, and I think it sums up our role quite nicely

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So how does this all tie in with Lent. I believe Lent is a time where we can re-connect with our humanity. When I’m dead, my small pile of ashes and dust won’t be any better than that of an immigrant, person of color, or refugee. Death is truly an equalizer – all our posturing and privilege is irrelevant when we take that final breath. It doesn’t matter anymore. And in reconnecting with our humanity, I believe it’s time to see the humanity of others. If human beings can connect on a human level, we no longer act out of fear, we can start acting out of love again.

It’s a big thought. It’s a life changing thought. It’s an uncomfortable thought.

The poor aren’t always easy to love. Our enemies definitely aren’t easy to love. Republicans aren’t easy to love. Democrats aren’t easy to love. There’s no easy out here. But why should there be?

That’s what I’m reflecting on today, and plan to continue working through this season. Join me?

signoff

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Lent: Embracing Less

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“I’m not Catholic”

…was always, in my mind, a reasonable answer for knowing little to nothing about Lent and the whole Lenten season. All I knew about it was Catholics got dirt smudged on their faces and complained that giving up wine and chocolate were hard. No wine and chocolate for 40 days? Yeah, that sounded like something that needed to stay far far away in Catholic land.

However, I was wrong. Lent is about much more than giving something up and dirty faces. I had the opportunity this year to attend a Lent service through City Church here in south Florida, and I finally began to grasp the gravity of this church holiday. Lent is about embracing death. The impending death of Christ, yes, but also the death of self. The death of your nature, and selfish desires. That’s why you give something up, it metaphorically “dies” to you. Then in 40 days, you raise it back up and celebrate it’s return. The ashes on the face symbolize that from dust we came and to dust we will return. It’s a sobering thought really, that someday we’ll be no more than dust in the wind (ok, I couldn’t help that one). So this year, I decided to participate in Lent. I started the Daniel Plan and gave up white flours, breads, and wine for the Lenten season. I learned that when you give something up, it should be replaced with something that draws you closer to Christ, so I’m working on that too.

I also learned feast days trump lent and every Sunday you get to indulge in whatever you’re giving up. I’m not sure if that’s as long standing a tradition, or if people really needed their coffee/wine fix (which I suspect are the two most given up items, or maybe just have the most vocal abstainers). But hey, I won’t stand in the way of a tradition!

xo. Brie